Brian Martin (born 1947) is a social scientist in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, at the University of Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He was appointed a Professor at the University in 2007, and in 2017 was appointed Emeritus Professor. His work is in the fields of peace research, science and technology studies, sociology, political science, media studies, law, journalism and education, as well as research on whistleblowing and dissent in the context of science. Martin was president of Whistleblowers Australia from 1996 to 1999 and remains their International Director.
Martin's original academic field was theoretical physics, and he worked in both stratospheric modelling and numerical methods during his career. He has published extensively about the social dynamics and politicisation of controversial scientific topics. His topics of inquiry have included the globalization of polarised science such as the origin of HIV/AIDS. He argues that there are situations in which scientific research that threatens vested interests can be suppressed. He identifies a number of direct and indirect mechanisms through which this can occur, ranging from the denial of funds and the denial of promotion and tenure, through to the creation of a "general climate of fear". Martin's work on in this area has provided what Delborne describes as a "key foundation for conceptualizing scientific dissent".
Martin has been criticised for supporting the incorrect proposal that oral polio vaccine caused AIDS. The hypothesis was first popularised in Rolling Stone magazine by way of journalist Curtis and AIDS activist Elswood in 1992, and was later further promoted by the journalist/writer Hooper and Martin, with Hooper crediting Martin for giving the OPV-AIDS link hypothesis "further publicity and credibility". Martin disputes the claim that he has been a supporter of the hypothesis, instead saying that he has "never argued in favour of the OPV theory", but has instead stated "that it was and remains worthy of consideration yet in many ways has been unfairly dismissed". A 2016 article in The Australian described Martin's 2010 paper as claiming "that medical researchers had colluded to silence the theory that the AIDS virus was caused by contaminated polio vaccines in 1950s Africa."
Martin has been active in the criticism of university systems. He has criticized conflicts of interest where universities are managing internal investigations that may lead to bad publicity, and recommends having independent groups investigate allegations of misconduct; he has written about the unauthorised use of research produced by students and junior researchers by senior academics; and he has been outspoken against sexual relationships between staff and students. He also reports that any bias within universities could simply be due to students strategically working in-line with the biases of their teachers.
Martin believes that if complainants go through the official channels the outcome is very predictable, in that organisation's internal grievance procedures or making a complaint to the relevant ombudsman doesn't work. He also believes whistleblower laws also don't work, saying; "Not only are whistleblower laws flawed through exemptions and in-built weaknesses but in their implementation they are rarely helpful".
In 2016 the Australian Skeptics criticised Martin's supervision of Wilyman by presenting Martin, Wilyman and the Social Sciences Department of the University of Wollongong the satirical Bent Spoon Award for awarding "a PhD thesis riddled with errors, misstatements, poor and unsupported 'evidence' and conspiratorial thinking".
The Whistleblower's Handbook: How to Be an Effective Resister, (Charlbury, UK: Jon Carpenter; Sydney: Envirobook, 1999). Updated and republished 2013 as Whistleblowing: a practical guide, Sparsnäs, Sweden: Irene Publishing)
^ abcJenkins, Stephen H. (2015). Tools for Critical Thinking in Biology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 217–219. ISBN978-0-19-998104-5. text= "Although Hooper and Martin are still promoting the tainted polio vaccine hypothesis, recent genetic work has convincingly disproven it... Worobey's team published their genetic comparison of HIV samples in 2008, but Brian Martin continued to promote the tainted polio vaccine hypothesis for the origin of AIDS as late as 2010 in a paper called "How to Attack a Scientific Theory and Get Away with It (Usually)..." p 218.
^Hess, David J. (1997). Science Studies: An Advanced Introduction, NYU Press (U.S.A.). ISBN9780814735640. p152.
^Curtis, Tom (19 March 1992). "The Origin of AIDS: A startling new theory attempts to answer the question, 'Was it an act of God or an act of man?". Rolling Stone magazine (626). pp. 54–9, 61, 106, 108.
^Lapointe, Pascal (15 January 2016). "L'anti-vaccination à l'université". Agence Science Presse. Quebec, CA. Retrieved 17 March 2016. translation= "The professor she chose as supervisor, Brian Martin, is known for his belief in a conspiracy to silence and hide the study that the AIDS virus was caused by the polio vaccine. And he also defends the idea of a vaccine-autism link."